Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Identical to None

These cats are pretty inventive with the dance moves...I need to see more of this going down at the functions I do

And in related does it offend you news...

The nod might have to go to Flying Lotus though for video of the year, with "Parisian Goldfish." Giving true meaning to the phrase Not Safe For Work!

Being as it is that I don't really get behind too many albums these days, 'Los Angeles' was one of the few records that really made an impression this year.

Reply in the comments section with your suggestion of a similarly clever recent (2007-2008) music video...I'm gonna see if I can't give away a copy of 'Los Angeles' to one of you all, try to spread the love a little bit.

FlyLo - LA 2

Friday, December 12, 2008

Real quick

Yeah, ok, so real quick, couple things for ya...

a. I've decided to include some links in the playlists for my mixes
so that you can support the musicians whose music I play (and I KNOW you all already do that anyway...u know, show love, spend money on music in 2008...right? of course you do) so yeah, support those who impact your life in a positive way, I think they call it karma or something...do the right thing.

2. Feel free to subscribe (that button to the right of this here posting that says "Subscribe"...yeah, that one. Hit that.) to stay up on how I make it doos what it does. I'm not that dude who posts 3.7 posts per day (or week for that matter,) so don't fret. I don't have that much good isht to relay, so expect whatever it is you expect when you deal with me. Quality control.

d. From time to time I will be contributing to society/the audience/my faithful readership by doing things such as giving away albums, etc. FYI.

That's it? Yup. I got it. I'm gone...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Live from New York...

Considering how bad SNL was for the longest time, I have to imagine that NBC (and probably Lorne Michaels as well) are counting their lucky stars these days to have some of the new writers and talent on their weekly staff. In fact, I'd be curious to see the ratings over the years for the show, just to see how many viewers they lost over the past 5-10 years. There are certainly still some weak links on the cast (I see you Kenan), but with cats like Andy Samberg and those other two dudes, the show is in a much better place. Anyways, it's about time they got their act together.

These digital shorts are as close to must see as it gets:

As I was saying, SNL has only become watchable again in the past few years really. Kanye's post-Katrina appearance in 2005 was dope, and then he killed it again on the 2007 season premiere hosted by Lebron James. If you can find them online, check the videos of Kanye's performances from either 2005 (Gold Digger/Touch the Sky & Heard Em Say) or 2007 (Stronger/Good Life & Champion/Everything I Am)...in all cases, pretty sick, especially with the live string section. But with that said, it must be said that Lebron definitely showed his acting chops as well.

Another name that definitely needs to be mentioned as we talk about the reemergence of SNL is Justin Timberlake. For those of you J. Timberlake haters out there, check your ego at the door because his stints as host on SNL have been quite possibly the most memorable shows in recent years...consistent throughout.

Finally, since I'm on the topic, this is something I got off a mixtape from some friends years ago. From May 7, 1983...

Stevie Wonder - Overjoyed (Live on Saturday Night Live)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


I went out the other week to this event at the 9:30 Club hosted by Red Bull called the Big Tune competition. Nottz was a featured performer, and though I recognized his name, I couldn't really put the name to any tracks off the top...it soon came to my attention that he was responsible for this from 'Extinction Level Event' and this from 'Graduation' (one of just a few other producers credited on Kanye's latest.) Outside of those, I've been a big fan of "W.O.L.V.E.S." which is off the Training Day soundtrack, but the tune that really caught my attention was the joint he opened up with as his hype-man was setting the stage a bit. I couldn't place it, so I asked him the name of it afterwards when I saw him outside the venue...a little Motown flavor for ya, Edwin Starr - Easin In.

Anyway, there were some good producers involved in the competition (K. Murdock of Panacea, Young Slim, Best Kept Secret, etc.) and an energetic performance from Wale, who seems to be a favorite of some/many these days, or at least a buzzworthy name.  He was good, I'll give him that...good energy, good music, all around, dude did his thing.

In between competitors/performers, the DJ was playing some tracks, and it turns out that he was actually spinning DVDs which was kinda cool...interesting to see some of the music videos showing on the big screens for the joints he was spinning. At one point he was playing 'Da Rockwilder' from Meth and Red, which was a dope little jam when it came out at the beginning of this decade, but even more memorable than the track, was the video. It got me to thinking about some of the videos from that era (late 90's, early 00's) and some of the video directors, including the cat who did the 'Rockwilder' video, Dave Meyers. Many of the videos back then really defined the tracks that blew up cats like Cash Money and their whole crew (surprisingly, I don't believe Meyers did any videos for Cash Money, but it sparked the idea and his name is the one that stands out the most.) Of course, keep in mind that this was in a different time when heads would spend a huge budget on a video because there were not countless outlets for music videos yet, and in order to get your video played, it needed to be big. Nowadays, the math just doesn't make sense (obviously.) Back to the lecture at hand though, many of the joints that really blew up around this time had dope videos, and while I don't find myself checking MTV2/Jamz/VHI Soul/Fuse/etc. nearly as much as I did years ago, I don't think these type videos are being made as much. The look they accomplished was pretty impactful. Here's some of the vids from those days that stand out:

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ahead of the Curve

As many people as there are that know his name and are just generally familiar with who he is, I'm not sure if quite enough people are checking for Z-Trip as much as they should. Dude cut his teeth over the years in front of crowds (extra) large and small, home and abroad, hip-hop and otherwise. Z clearly bridges the gap...one of those select few artists who gets the nod to open up for legends such as The Rolling Stones, and I'm sure others. But when it's all said and done, hip-hop is what it's all about. Anyway...I want to put you on to a few things that I keep in my collection that I think you should know about, kind of on some stream of consciousness tip.

Some of these tracks are more readily available, some stuff you'd have to track down, but all pretty dope. First things first, "Soundclash" is available as a free download over at Z's site...not a whole lot to say about it, but dude makes some great remixes/edits/mashups/whatever. Updating a classic Dawn Penn record never seemed so easy. Next up is an exclusive bit from 'Ahead of the Curve,' just a little sample (featuring Gift of Gab in this instance) of what you're getting from that collaborative mix project from Lateef and Z...definitely far from your average. I've also included a couple pieces from 'New Math,' the debut (and only?) album from some of Z's comrades, the Backyard Bangers, E. Moss & Troublemaker. And, finally, connecting the dots once again, a selection from my man 2tall.

2tall is definitely one of my favorite DJ/producers. Progressive, amazing talent, and consistent. "Coaster" is off a 3-track digital EP that was released a few years back around the time his debut 'Shifting Tides' dropped. The EP was not initially intended for commercial release, but, according to the man himself, due to some hefty stateside radio support, he decided to give the EP a proper release through Bleep. Peep game...

Z-Trip - Soundclash (white label)
Lateef & Z-Trip - Time freestyle feat. Gift of Gab (Hard Left)
Backyard Bangers - Yardwork (Hollyrock)
Backyard Bangers - Opposite Direction (Hollyrock)
2tall - Coaster (Needlework)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Close Edge

I put this mix together just recently as a demo of sorts, really just something to move the crowd. It includes some electro/house/hip-hop stuff and some straight club and hip-hop stuff as well, ranging from independent/progressive to big mainstream radio hits. Folks who know me may be surprised with some of these selections, but it's all about the context and the vibe... I understand that not everyone can tell a good DJ from a mediocre/wack DJ, and some folks dig deeper than others in their music listening habits, so I'm trying to bridge the gap a bit with some more recognizable tracks and some less known tracks.

Over the years I've become familiar with and had the pleasure to listen to and learn from a lot of dope DJs, where skill and crate knowledge were the primary job requirements. I'm not sure if those attributes are as much the case with your average "DJ" in 2008, but that's where I come from, and that's what I'm trying to do. Without further delay, here it is...so see what you think. Hope you enjoy it.

1. Eric B & Rakim - Juicy (DJ Eli remix)
2. Windimoto - Don't Let Me Leave Alone (Nicolay remix)
3. Poly - My Emotion
4. Fergie - Glamorous feat. Ludacris
5. King Tutt - Justin remix
6. Usher - Love in This Club
7. Usher - Confessions Pt. II
8. Trick Daddy - I'm A Thug
9. Justin Timberlake - Cry Me A River
10. Game - Dreams

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Some of that cosmic dust...

I first heard of Sa-Ra Creative Partners back when Pharoah’s “Agent Orange” single came out, probably the same time everyone else would’ve first caught wind of these cats. Their name itself sounds like they’re a hair salon or something, so needless to say I had no clue who they were, but then again, they were brand new on the scene. Considering how few releases they’ve put out over the years, it always surprised me how much hype they’d gotten. Still, apparently their talents were evident enough to be signed to deals with both Sound In Color and Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label, though unfortunately all that would result from these two situations was a single 6-track EP (a fairly lackluster one at that if you ask me.)

For whatever reason though, I still check for these cats, and so when I came across their first full-length recently, I picked it up to see what the real deal is. Released in 2007 via independent label Babygrande, “The Hollywood Recordings” is (if nothing else) a good look at what they’re capable of. With nearly 20 tracks on the album, there is definitely a bunch of filler and just straight-up mediocre material, too much to really speak on this project as a cohesive album or even to rate it particularly high as a collective. However, there are definitely moments that stand out and suggest that some of the hype has been warranted in years past.

I want to compare them (on some level) to Organized Noize…funk, soul, intergalactic isht. Or as they describe themselves: Afro Magnetic Electronic Spiritualism. I wouldn’t go as far as to say these two groups are on the same level, but Sa-Ra is heading in the right direction, and I’m hopeful that they keep doing what they do because the future looks (potentially) bright. It sounds like they may have a major label debut ready or in the works, but who knows if/when that will arrive.

Sa-Ra - Rosebuds  (Babygrande)
Sa-Ra - And If feat. Ty  (Babygrande)
Sa-Ra - So Special feat. Rozzi Daime  (Babygrande)
Sa-Ra - Fly Away feat. Erykah Badu & Georgia Anne  (Babygrande)
Goapele - Fly Away  (Sony/Skyblaze)
Outkast - Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (ON remix)  (Laface)

Friday, May 23, 2008

Time for the interpolator...

or really just straight jacking for beats. But I’ve got no problem with it (why would I?), especially when the source material is this nice. I’ve come across this tune a bunch of times recently so I figured I’d put the pieces together and put it out there a bit.

The names Holland and Dozier are attached to the original tune from Dionne Warwick’s 1973 album Just Being Myself. If you’re a Motown head, that probably means something to you. Not much to say about this music, except that I’m glad to have it in my collection. To know that these cats created this 35 years ago is crazy to me. Those dudes were on something else. Jay Dee, Just Blaze and Holland and Dozier all on a same plane seems to make sense too.

Also included below is part of a live performance from J Laine and the Players, with MC Grap Luva from Subsoniq’s broadcast of Dilla Day on XM Radio a while back…dope to check in a live environment. And props to Norman Rexwell for putting me on to the original track.

Dilla / Dionne / Usher / Subsoniq
Dilla – Stop! (Stones Throw)
Dionne Warwick – You’re Gonna Need Me (Warner/Spy)
Usher – Throwback (LaFace/Jive)
J Laine + The Players feat. Alison Carney (Subsoniq/XM)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The DJ is the Cornerstone of Hip-Hop

When I was in school, I spent some time working for The FADER magazine/Cornerstone promotion out of NY.  This is when I first discovered the Cornerstone mixtape.  Back then (a bit moreso than today,) these joints were pretty consistent and on point.  Cats like Babu, Jazzy Jeff, Vice, Hi-Tek, Tony Touch, and many other top-notch producers and DJs were at the helm from month to month doing what they do.

I could probably post some other dope moments from past Cornerstone tapes, but I'll focus on the man who I think has best represented on these mixtapes over the years: DJ Premier.  Premo always seems to have more input as far as the tracklist goes when he is hosting the tape (which certainly helps set him apart,) but he also brings more quality music and exclusive music to the table.  And not your typical 'exclusive' as other fools point out on their mixtapes...we're talking dope tracks that you can't get elsewhere, but wish you could.

The audio here is (mostly) from Mixtape #47, where Premo and Green Lantern hosted (right around the time D&D closed if I'm not mistaken.)  The first part of the audio is how the mixtape opens...Guru setting the stage.  Next up is Ras Kass.  If you recall, when Ras was still held captive by Capitol, the single 'Golden Chyld' sort of made the rounds...classic record.  Ras Kass in top form, and Premier likewise.  Finally, I'd never heard of Connekt 4, but it's a nice little track and just a simple example of how Premier does his own thing and breaks new music (maybe not to the masses necessarily, but he breaks records no less.)

DJ Premier - Intro / Guru freestyle
Ras Kass - Golden Chyld (Premier, Capitol)
Connekt 4 - Just One of Those Days (unknown, On Point)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Beyond Real

Growing up, electronic music to me was more corny than anything, probably because I only heard lame club music and trance-type stuff on the radio.  Working and interning at certain spots, and just living and DJing a bit in DC and NY over the years though has exposed me to the world of electronic music.  I definitely now have a much greater respect and appreciation for the different genres of electronic music, especially house.

One record I came across early in my days of discovering house music, etc. was from Spinna.  I realize for many that it seems all too obvious how dope Spinna is with his house production, but regardless, I'm glad I have this record in my collection, and I think it's a great entry-level (if there is such a thing) house record for beginners like I was (and am.)  For those of you who don't mess with house, check this joint before you dismiss the genre like I used to.  For those of you who are house lovers, you already know the deal.

This version (below) is off 'Here to There' from BBE's Beat Generation series.  You can also cop this on 12", which gives you a slightly reworked/extended version (by Paul Simpson.)  Dope in either format if you ask me.  The 2nd part of the audio is a remix Spinna and Joc Max (aka The Domecrackers) did for Das Efx.

DJ Spinna - Music In Me feat. Shaun Escoffery (w/ intro)
Das Efx - Microphone Master (Domecrackers remix)

Monday, March 24, 2008

Year Round

Been digitizing a bunch of my records lately...here's a little mix of tracks from the extended Gang Starr foundation, Year Round Records, etc., listed below in order of appearance.

Blaq Poet - Watch Your Back (DJ Premier, Year Round)
Cashulty - No Win Situation (Sebb, Fat Beats)
Smiley the Ghetto Child - The Wake Up Call (DJ Premier, Fat Beats)
Blaq Poet - Message from Poet (DJ Premier, Year Round)

I know not many people are buying records these days, certainly not as much as in years past, but tracks like these (which seem to be available primarily on vinyl) make trips to the record store worth it...as infrequent as those trips may be. (That being said, record stores are few and far between now too.) Not sure if any of these ever saw CD release or not.  Images may not be great, but I don't have the means to do my own photo scans, so deal accordingly.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


I don't know a whole lot about
DJ Troubl, except that he's French, he won the Allies Beatdown at one point (and some world titles to boot,)and he's an ill DJ/producer.

This was one of a couple joints up on his MySpace some time ago, and if it's at all telling of what else he can do, I can't wait to hear more.

On an unrelated/related note, for a good laugh, peep the Funny Ish section of the old Allies site, Detective Jon Kimble shows all you amateur pranksters how it's done.


Where to start.  I don't normally write a whole lot, so I think I'll keep this brief so as to make it as painless as possible and to keep my ego intact beyond day one.

Welcome to My Soul For Real No Doubt.  This is where I plan to post music-related things...audio, video, links, you know the deal.

Me, my name is Mike.  I'm a DJ, been doing it since the mid-90's when I was in high school.  I love music in general, but hip-hop is really my thing.  I love learning about new styles and sounds, and as a DJ, sometimes that's reflected in how I spin records.  At least I'd like to think so.  Much of what this blog will be about is hip-hop, and how I've grown to understand and love and maybe even live the culture.

Anyways, once again, welcome, and thanks for stopping by.  I hope this blog is as informative, inspirational, and entertaining to you as so many other blogs, outlets, friends, DJs and music lovers are to me.